Over in their little corner of the gym, the muscle-heads were chuckling it up --discussing loudly, their deep admiration for internet porn. Old women in hot pink spandex, wearing jewelry and old men with black socks, not wanting to look embarrassed, scooted quietly over to the back row near the windows or across the room to the clunking, grinding noise of the treadmills.
If the men, all of them giants, noticed they were making a few geezers uncomfortable, they didn't let on.
"I like the women to look normal," one of them said. "You know, I've got plenty of moles on my body. I don't want them to look too perfect, you know?"
Not everybody agreed. They liked what they liked. In a wild, excited cacophony, the men rattled off names of places they went, each representing a different flavor of masturbation --none of them were familiar to me, which seemed kind of funny. While it's not one of my all-consuming passions, I can honestly say I've looked at some porn. I've had roommates who were huge into it --one of them, once he got into a serious relationship that included frequent and vigorous sex, decided to divest himself of most of his collection.
There wasn't much of a discussion. He figured he didn't need it. I'm not sure how that worked out in the long run, but from his room he brought out a bulging leaf bag full of DVDs and video tapes.
I remember he only kept the stuff that was signed by someone --a vaguely Asian porn starlet he went to high school with. He also had an action figure, I think, a 12 inch, doll on some kind of stand. He kept it on a shelf next to his collection of Star Wars action figures.
He offered to let me have whatever I wanted of the stuff, but sheesh... it was a lot of porn. I passed and the guy who took it, kept it for a single weekend of relentless self-abuse before he gave it to Goodwill or his church or something.
But anyway, I know porn. I just didn't know nearly as much as these guys.
The sites they visited were practically boutiques, offering only specific images to them. They also cost money and not everybody liked to pay for the opportunity to jerk off to porn clips or pictures of dwarfs doing housework while wearing flippers or whatever.
"I'm a big fan of redtube," the one guy, the loudest guy said. "I like anything for free."
The weirdest things happen when you bring your kid to the gym.